Why I chose to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham

Published: Posted on

Hi my name’s Max and I am a fourth year chemical engineering student from Borneo! Narrowing down my university choices became the dilemma of the decade for me. Several consultations and numerous head-scratches later, I was set to enrol to the university that my friends from boarding school were planning on enrolling. However, I changed my tune after researching more about the University of Birmingham. The conundrum that I had was solved thanks to the four aspects that I had in mind in which the University of Birmingham possesses.

  1. Prestige

Prestige played a tremendous role that ultimately became the basis of my selection process. I knew that at the back of my mind, I’m not Imperial material and the idea of enrolling to Cambridge was too far-fetched. After diving deeper into the university of Birmingham, the impressive statistics and awards that Birmingham has under its belt won me over.

From being the bee’s knees when it comes to research quality, to Birmingham’s reputation as one of the Russel Group universities, to being awarded ‘University of the Year 2014’ by Times Higher Education, it was obvious to me that Birmingham is a reputable institution.

In the midst of researching various universities in 2016, I noticed that the chemical engineering department at the University of Birmingham was consistently placed in the top 5. Birmingham has cemented itself as one of the titans in the chemical engineering realm and I wanted to be a part of it.

  1. Support and opportunity for students

I wanted to reap the most out of the opportunities in my university days. After countless hours of browsing through the university website and social media accounts, it was evident to me that chemical engineering students at Birmingham are showered with sufficient support. Advertisements for Careers Fair and Industrial Dinners captured my attention, both of which shared the same essence of providing students with an opportunity of networking with company representatives, be it for internship or graduate scheme purposes.

I also stumbled upon the Guild of Student’s website where I discovered various societies that the guild has to offer. As an international student, I had to make sure that there was a dedicated society for my home country, Malaysia and I was relieved when I found out that it certainly did exist. Scrolling through the list of societies were both enticing and thought-provoking as the range of student groups were endless.

  1. Top-notch facilities

Under the tutelage of highly qualified staff, I knew that the level of education that the chemical engineering department has to offer would be outstanding. However, to facilitate the learning experience, having top-notch facilities is undoubtedly vital.

After doing my homework of researching about Birmingham, I was excited about the facilities that I would have the chance of using. The state-of-the-art library which newly opened when I first arrived in Birmingham is not only a sight to behold, but it also houses an extensive selection of reading materials.

The University of Birmingham has a website which gives students a glimpse of what the lecture theatres look like. I utilised this before coming to the university and the lecture theatres seemed conducive enough for students to absorb the information in the lecture. After having the chance of hopping from one lecture theatre to the other, I can confidently say that most of the lecture theatres are comfortable and equipped with the necessary things for a lecture to flow. From comfortable seats to good lighting to projectors, visualiser and microphones, these essentials are the keys to a conducive learning environment.

As a university that prides itself as one of the creams of the crop when it comes to research quality, I had tremendous expectations for the labs at the university. Labs are inevitable for chemical engineering students and when I finally had the chance to conduct several experiments, my expectations were met. The lab in the chemical engineering building not only holds some memories of me being clumsy but it’s also versatile which allowed me and other students to conduct various experiments. I’ve also had the chance of conducting some experiments in the biochemical engineering building and the range of equipment that it houses is impressive.

Image of the exterior of the Chemical Engineering Building
The Chemical Engineering Building
Photo of the exterior of the library on a sunny day
The impressive University Library
  1. Convenience

Convenience was the fourth criteria on my list. The University of Birmingham ticks this box as most of the ‘essentials’ is in the vicinity of the university. For me, it was of utmost importance that student accommodation was available within walking distance from the university. Luckily, Selly Oak, which is a student populated area with a plethora of accommodation to choose from is minutes away from the university.

I personally find cooking very therapeutic which is why I needed to have a wide selection of grocery shops. My prayers were answered as Selly Oak is home to various grocery stores like Aldi, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. To satiate my Asian taste buds, Asian grocery shops like Seoul Plaza and Fresh Oriental located in Selly Oak where I can conveniently shop for Asian goods.

The cherry on top for me was the University train station which is conveniently located just steps away from the university. As a Selly Oak resident, having a dedicated Selly Oak train station is a blessing and buses in Selly Oak are also plenty.

My four years of studying in Birmingham is coming to an end in June and naturally, I’m becoming more introspective and reflective of my time here. There were bumps along the way but the fond memories that I’ve created here outweighs that. Enrolling as a chemical engineering student at the University of Birmingham has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.